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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Drinking water crisis looming over Bengaluru but govt. says no worries till summer

As Bengaluru is likely to partially shut down due to the bandh called on Tuesday to protest against the government releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, there is a dark shadow of a drinking water crisis looming over the city.

A bad monsoon has already led to the drying up of borewells across the city, especially in the outer zones which have been looking forward to getting Cauvery water supply from January 2024, which seems unlikely now. The prices of tanker water have already shot up by a large margin and it is only September and the city is dependent on the fast-depleting Cauvery river water till next monsoon in June 2024.

Rakesh Singh, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Urban Development Department (UDD) and Water Resources Department, said that there was sufficient water for the city’s drinking water needs till the next summer and it won’t be a problem.

But concerns remain. A delegation of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday petitioned the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), demanding that the Board write to the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) appealing to them to clear the decks for the Mekedatu balancing reservoir, which they argued would also help the city. “There is a clear threat of drinking water crisis plaguing the city this year. We request the BWSSB to immediately write to the Water Resources Minister asking him to prioritise and reserve water needed for drinking purposes for the city,” the memorandum said.

In fact, BWSSB Chairman N. Jayaram had recently written to Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd., urging them to prioritise and reserve water for the city’s drinking needs till the next monsoon. Presently, Bengaluru draws 1450 MLD water every day from Shiva reservoir at Malavalli for its drinking water needs, which will increase by another 700 MLD from January 2024 once the Cauvery V Stage is inaugurated and water supply begins for 110 villages. “To ensure adequate drinking water supply to Bengaluru, with a population of 12.8 million, BWSSB needs 1.6 tmcft of water every month till December 2023. “Further, as an additional 10 tmcft of water is allotted to the city to provide water to 110 villages under Cauvery V Stage, the Board needs 2.42 tmcft of water from January 2024,” he added.

Sources said given the water crisis in the Cauvery basin, additional water supply to 110 villages was unlikely from January 2024 and these villages may have to wait longer for piped water supply from the Cauvery.

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